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Explained: Wear resistance

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Posted · Explained: Wear resistance

First things first; What is wear resistance? 
Wear resistance is the material's ability to withstand damage, abrasion or deformation as a result of repetitive mechanical action with another solid. Its resistance can be the result of its strength, stiffness or a material’s coefficient of friction. This last factor refers to the amount of resistance one exerts on another that move over it. Plastics typically have a low coefficient of friction, which makes plastic material prime candidates for 3D printing wear-resistant parts.



When is wear resistance important? 
If parts need to be durable often these parts need to be wear resistant. There are 3 key areas where 3D printing with wear resistant material is relevant: 

  • Moving applications. When motion is involved there are multiple surfaces interacting with each other. Rotating, pivoting, gliding etc. Materials with a high degree of wear resistance can ensure durability and longevity under these circumstances. 
  • Tools, jigs & fixtures need to withstand surface damages during routine usage. This will ensure high uptimes and low costs. 
  • End use parts need to be durable and maintain functional for a long period of time. Longer life means fewer reproductions and cost. 

What else should you know? 

  1. Materials that are wear resistant often have a generally good chemical resistance, because additional lubrication is not uncommon. 
  2. When thermoplastics are heated, physical and chemical changes take place. Sometimes irreversible. High temperature resistance is therefor important because when a component is subject to high load and tribological stress, friction often manifests as heat. 
  3. By using a soft material such as TPU for a part’s outer layers, you can minimize its surface impact, enabling the part to last longer in a stressful environment. (as opposed to a coarsely stepped surface for example). 

    Cura tip 1: A typical application for wear resistant material is one faced with high loads so settings should be adjusted accordingly. Use a higher wall count & top/bottom layers, higher infill rate and bulkier walls. 

    Cura tip 2: Ultimaker Cura allows you to configure: ‘set outer wall extruder’. Here you can indicate that the outer walls must be printed with another material like the wear resistant material TPU or iGus. And on the inside you can use a cheaper material like PLA or a stronger reinforced material. On top of that, when you use 2 different colors you can also see when the outer layer is starting to wear off over time and you need to replace it.  


Which wear resistant materials do we have in the marketplace? 

Igus GmbH

  • Igus iglidur® I150 Tribofilament is a special material developed for use as bearing material and for wear parts. Its ease of use and high abrasion resistance make it a go-to material for applications with movement and friction
  • Igus® iglidur® I180 Tribofilament is a special material developed for use as bearing material and for all types of wear parts. In applications with movement and friction, it eliminates the need for extra lubrication



  • LUVOCOM 3F PAHT® CF 9891 BK is a high-temperature, carbon fiber-reinforced, polyamide-based material. It provides high strength, stiffness, and minimized water uptake
  • LUVOCOM 3F PAHT® 9825 NT is a high-temperature polyamide-based material. It has the strength of a PA6 without sacrificing any of its printability


Ensinger GmbH 

  • Ensinger TECAFIL PA6 GF30 Black is a 30% glass fiber-reinforced polyamide manufactured under the trade name TECAFIL PA6 GF30 Black. It offers higher strength, rigidity, creep strength, and dimensional stability compared with unreinforced polyamide 6.


Do you want to see which other materials we have in our material alliance? Use our filter to find out which other properties you can choose from.

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Posted · Explained: Wear resistance

Cool stuff!  I don't think about wear much.  Not consciously I suppose.  It makes a lot of sense that you don't want to use PLA in high wear situations because it softens at such a low temperature.  when I insert screws using an electric driver into a PLA part I have to be careful not to overheat.  The screws melt the pla and self tap nicely but if they get too hot (insert and remove the screw too quickly) then the pla sticks to the screw and it makes a mess.  Not a problem for me with higher temp materials.


This property (wear resistance) will be in the back of my mind now going forward.

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